Greg Hardy’s professional mixed martial arts career will begin with an NFL tenor.
The former NFL defensive end will meet Austen Lane on June 12 in his first professional MMA fight, it was announced during the UFC 224 broadcast, according to ESPN. Having won all four of his amateur MMA fights, Hardy coincidentally will face another former NFL player in Lane.
“At the end of the day, when we go in the cage, we’re just going to be two fighters,” Lane said in an interview with FloCombat.com, per ESPN. “Obviously we’ll both have some athleticism that has carried over from the NFL, but I don’t consider him former NFL player Greg Hardy, I consider him MMA fighter Greg Hardy and that’s how I’m going to approach what he’s bringing to the table.”
Hardy and Lane will fight as heavyweights on the Dana White Tuesday Night Contender Series.
Lane played in the NFL between 2010 and 2014, with stints on the Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears. He is a perfect 4-0 as a pro MMA fighter.
Hardy, 29, last played in the NFL between 2010 and 2015, most notably for the Carolina Panthers. He was a Pro Bowler in 2013, but his career derailed the next year following his domestic-violence arrest. His last NFL season was disappointing, as he had six sacks in 12 games on a 4-12 Dallas Cowboys team in 2015. Police arrested Hardy in September 2016 on cocaine possession charges and he has been out of the NFL ever since.
Hardy now trains at South Florida’s American Top Team, one of the biggest and most well-respected gyms in MMA.
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